CHILD care places in Fordingbridge could be boosted and 25 jobs created if a plan to turn a disused pub into a day nursery for babies and infants is approved.
Tim and Liz Morey, owners of the Coach House Day Nursery in Gorley, have submitted two applications – to turn the Grade II listed Tudor Rose Pub into a nursery, and to add two windows, a back door and a 1.2m high front boundary fence.
Fordingbridge mayor Malcolm Connolly said the town council had given the proposal “its blessing”.
He said: “The town council debated the application for quite some time but feel it is a positive use of the building, which would be maintained and returned to its former glory and become an asset to the town once again.
The nursery would employ 25 people, which is a good thing for Fordingbridge.”
Mr Connolly said: “There was some concern about the traffic onto the A338 but it was felt that there would be no difference to the traffic movements than there was when it was a public house.”
If approved the scheme nursery would offer childcare from 7am to 7pm five days a week.
The proposal has been welcomed by Hampshire County Council’s childcare development co-ordinator Sarah Davey, who wrote a letter to New Forest District Council saying that 146 children in Fordingbridge are entitled to 15 hours early educational entitlement, but there are just 86 places in the town.
She said: “Fordingbridge is an area that has given us some sufficiency concerns for several years as we are aware the childcare offer in the town doesn’t meet all the needs of all local families.”
Mrs Morey said: “The location would be ideal for working parents to drop off their children on their journeys to work.”
A district council spokesman said: “Officers have no objection in principle to the proposed change of use as the proposals appear to accord with our planning policies.
“However, we do have some concerns about potential noise from use of the outside space, and potential odour due to possible changes to the extract ventilation from the kitchen.”
District council planners are set to make a decision by April 11.